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Spyder Bite: a Gladiator's Tale


by farm_girl_111590

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"Ladies and gentlemen!" the announcer boomed. "Please put your paws, hooves, wings, and fins together for our reigning champion, our very own: Selene the Angelpuss! And facing Selene the Strong, please welcome the newcomer: Robotica the Spyder!"

      The crowd, which had earlier been cheering and screaming their hearts out for me, erupted into hisses and boos as a small pink spyder entered the arena. Even though her red eyes glinted viciously, I never had a doubt that I would defeat Robotica with as little difficulty as I had had defeating my other opponents.

     With a quick flutter of my wings, I rose a few feet into the air to wave to the crowd.

      "Selene! Selene! Selene!" they chanted. I grinned and gave one final wave before I turned around and landed gently on the ground. I hustled over to the slightly overweight snorkle who stood in the middle of the arena in the striped shirt of a referee, and half-listened to his recitation of the rules while I eyed the spyder.

      She was wiry ("Let's have a clean fight today"). I would have bet my life savings that she was incredibly quick ("No biting and no hovering"), but she wasn't muscular ("We'll begin on my count") and wasn't very big. I should have had no problem beating her ("Now, shake hands and return to your corners").

      I grasped one of her spindly legs in my paw, squeezing as I shook, and trying not to wince as the sharp tip of her claw dug into my flesh. With a final squeeze, we broke away and returned to our respective corners of the arena. I jogged in place for a moment, and fluttered my wings to loosen up and get my adrenaline pumping.

      The snorkle referee stood in the middle of the arena. He glanced at me to check that I was ready and then glanced at Robotica. Raising one hoof in the air, he shouted "Gladiators… Fight!" and dashed to the edge of the arena with surprising spryness for a petpet so large. But the snorkle was no longer my concern. I was sprinting towards the pink spyder, clenching my paws into fists, and fluttering my wings to lend me some speed.

      I had been right in assuming that Robotica was fast. At this rate, we would clash closer to my corner than hers. But at the last minute, she dodged to the side. I spun, but my fluttering wings slowed me down, just slightly, and by the time I had completed my turn, she was already behind me to knock me head over wings to the ground with one thin leg. In a flash, I leapt to my feet, but she had already darted out of reach.

      The crowd had groaned when Robotica had knocked me over, and now let out a ragged cheer that I was back on my feet. They waited hungrily for the next clash.

      With a growl, I charged the spyder again. I really thought that she was going to come straight at me this time and shifted my weight to prepare for impact, but at the last second, Robotica leaped into the air, grabbing at my halo with one of her legs and yanking me onto my back in the dirt.

     The crowd hissed, but their hunger for violence was growing.

      I couldn't help but notice that my recovery this time around was a fraction slower than before. Not good. Alright, it was time to play by Robotica's rules.

      I charged the spyder again, but at the last second I dodged to the right. Unfortunately, Robotica had extremely fast reflexes, certainly faster than my dodge. She reached out one thin leg, grabbed my own foot, and swung me around, letting go so fast that I had no time to slow myself down before I crashed into the arena wall. With a sickening crunch, one of my wings broke. The muscle in my left leg, the one Robotica had grabbed, also felt as though it had been pulled. I slid to the ground, my body aching.

      The crowd was no longer booing the spyder. They held their breath to see what blow Robotica would deal next.

      This time I would wait for her to come to me. My other plans certainly hadn't worked. I crouched in place, watching the spyder warily.

      Robotica circled, waiting for her opening. Sure enough, as I turned to keep her in front of me, I strained my already pulled leg muscle. My quick wince was all the opening Robotica needed. She darted forward, quick as a cobrall, and scratched one of her claws across my shoulder.

      I fell to the dirt floor of the arena with a thud, the paw I had flung out to break my fall giving out with a crack; the broken bones were adding up. My fair-weather fans were now chanting, "Robotica! Robotica! Robotica!"

      As the snorkle referee announced my defeat, I heard my owner in the stands negotiating a price for my sale. Apparently, there were many Neopians who would love to include an Ex-Petpet Battledome Champion in their galleries.

      Suddenly, I heard someone cry out "No!" A teenage girl with dark brown hair cropped to her ears, and light brown eyes stalked into the arena. As she walked towards me, she bent to scoop Robotica into her arms.

     The girl faced my owner and said, "You can't just auction Selene off like a plushie! She's a Battledome Champion!"

     My owner simply shrugged and said, "I have no further use for her."

      The brown haired girl opened and closed her mouth in disgust then stood there, fuming silently. The other Neopians returned to offering their bids to my owner until the girl finally spoke up. "I will double whatever anyone offers for her," she said quietly. No one gave any indication that they had heard her. "I will double whatever anyone offers for her!" she shouted.

      The crowd went silent. My owner glared at her. "The current offer is fifteen thousand."

      The brown haired girl glared right back. "Then I'll pay thirty thousand."

      After a brief pause: "Any other offers?" my owner asked desperately. The crowd remained silent. After all, I was only an Ex-Petpet Battledome Champion. My owner gritted her teeth. "Sold," she replied tersely. After grabbing the money out of my new owner's hands, she turned and stormed away without a glance in my direction.

      The brown haired girl sighed and crouched down so that she was on my level. She reached out and gently felt my limbs to check for any further injuries and stroked my unbroken wing.

     "We'll have to get you fixed up," she told me softly. "But after that I don't see why you won't be able to battle some more. If that's what you want," she added quickly.

     I nodded weakly, still unsure whether or not I wanted this girl as my new owner and Battledome trainer. Sensing my doubt, the girl said, "Don't worry about Robotica, she's really a sweetheart. She only fights in the ring." Hearing her name, the pink spyder peeked over the girl's shoulder.

     With grim good humor I said, "At least I'll learn some new moves."

The End

First entry into the NT! Feel free to neomail me with comments and constructive criticism.

 
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